Going into bat for charity

The work of the Union encompasses a wide range of activities, but IEU officers also seek to contribute to the greater good away from work as well.

One such pursuit is a charity cricket match held every January at Newington College in Stanmore, in Sydney’s inner west, arranged by IEU Organiser Kendall Warren, in conjunction with long time IEU member (and Newington House Master) Graham Potter.

“Me and several of my mates have been playing social cricket matches for years, originally at Queens Park in the eastern suburbs,” Kendall said. “But as life changes led people to move west away from the beach, we found that our matches were no longer being held at a convenient place, so we started to look around for an alternative.

“Graham and I have been friends for nearly 20 years, and I got talking to him at a party one night. At the time he was acting as Sports Master at Newington, and he suggested that if we were willing to play for charity, we could access the Newington pitch during the summer holidays free of charge. Given the facilities at Newington, we jumped at the offer”.

The matches have since evolved into a regular annual event, played under a ‘20-20-20-20’ format (two innings for each side). Every player gets a bat in each innings, and anyone who wants to bowl a few overs gets to do so. Lunch is provided, and feedback from each match has been universally positive.

“Cricket is one of those sports that allows friends to come together in a typically Australian way yet at the same time provides a scaffold for fundraising,” Graham said.

Each player pays $50 to play, and, after the expenses of lunch and equipment are taken out, that usually means between $600-$800 is raised for Graham’s house charity, CanTeen, depending on how many players show up.

“CanTeen is an organisation that does so much for kids with cancer, but also gives wonderful support to those who are close to the cancer sufferers.”

Graham is also able to use the match as a learning experience for his young charges, and allows him to underline the importance of giving back to the community. “Service to those in need is an integral part of Newington and humanity. It allows those who can to contribute to those in need, with a win for all parties.”

In May, Kendall went to the school to hand over this year’s takings in front of Graham’s house, Le Couteur.

“I noted that I work for a Union because I love helping people, and I told the boys that this could be done in myriad ways – even with something as fun as a game of social cricket with mates.”

The next match is already scheduled for early January 2018, thanks in no small part to Graham’s help, and also that of the Newington school leadership and facilities department. So the tradition continues!